Journaling is self-therapy

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Somewhere along the line, journaling, for me, became more than documenting my thoughts & feelings & what happened throughout the day. Instead, it became my method of actually processing all of those things. When my brain gets so chaotic, I am lost within it, getting my thoughts & feelings — & insecurities! — out & into written form is therapy to me. Sometimes it’s painful & sometimes it is a total relief. But it pretty much always winds up being helpful. Journaling is self-therapy.

Then, I get lost in all the reasons I should NOT be writing…. My thoughts are private. They aren’t meant to be put out into the world. Maybe I should write in a notebook & put it under lock & key.

But, in reality, wouldn’t that be just as stressful? My innermost thoughts written out so any stranger could stumble upon them at any point? Trying to keep them concealed seems futile if I am getting them out of my brain; the only surefire way to keep thoughts private are to NEVER share them.

But, sharing is healthy.

Especially when your thoughts are toxic or full of total bullshit, they need to get out of your head. Somehow & some way.

To leave nasty thoughts in your head is like leaving something to sit & fester & grow even more rancid. Then, it just spreads.

Those destructive thoughts take over the positive thoughts that might be hiding in the shadows. And, before you know it, you have nothing but the nastiness lurking inside of you.

No. That would be the worst thing to do.

So, I get mine OUT. They aren’t allowed to hang out for too long — most of them anyway.

But, why do I insist on keeping my innermost thoughts on a blog like this? Totally public, with no chance of keeping them secret?

Why do I put on display my chaos for strangers to stumble into? Why don’t I even TRY to act like these thoughts are mine, alone?

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I honestly am not completely certain. I ask myself this a lot.

Is it not kind of a joke to blog about the things I do?

Is it not a bit uncomfortable?

Is it not a little — dare I say?! — crazy to showcase my, well, craziness so openly?

Yes. To all of those.

But, then, I argue that my hand, with a pen in it, cannot keep up with my brain. I can get my thoughts out so much better with a keyboard & a screen.

And, if I am writing & putting forth this effort JUST for ME, I feel even more flawed. I don’t know exactly why that is. But, it feels silly. It feels insignificant. It feels futile.

Like, what is the point?

But, if I write to not only relieve the pressure of the chaos in my head, but to also maybe give the CHANCE that someone else who feels as I do might stumble across my weirdo thoughts? Well, that feels a lot better.

Instead of translating my chaotic brain into the written word just for me, I also have the chance to show someone else that they aren’t alone in how they feel. Or that someone out there is a bit crazier than they are? Or that they can find semi-healthy ways to stay at least a little sane, despite what the bitchy “voice” in their head is always telling them?

Because I know That Bitch is always there, telling you how you’re wasting your time trying to do or be more. She’s always lurking in your mind telling you that the people who love you are faking it & that, in fact, they just tolerate you. And, given the first chance, they will dump you or leave you for someone more deserving of their time & love & energy.

That Bitch, though not really tangible, & though not an ACTUAL voice, is still so very real.

She is always there to make happy times a little less happy by reminding you they will end. And conjuring up ways YOU might be the one to screw those happy times up.

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That Bitch is there to tell you that the effort to create a better life or get healthier or be consistent at anything GOOD & worthwhile is actually NOT worth it. She tells you ALL the ways that it would be easier & more in tune with who you are, to your core, to just play things safe & be miserable & NOT go out on a limb.

That Bitch is just ALWAYS THERE to throw a wrench in anything good… & no one but me can hear her. (Though, she will try to make me believe that I am the last one to NOT see what she sees in me & that everyone else can see just what a piece of crap imposter I really am.)

Maybe you have a version of That Bitch that you contend with on a regular basis too. Or, maybe, as That Bitch tells me, virtually no one else can relate to what I am saying & I am wasting my energy even trying to convey what a drain she is.

But, see? Journaling — for me, BLOGGING — is a way to give That Bitch a little less power. I don’t know that she’ll ever go away. But, acknowledging her presence & reminding myself that I can be whomever I want to be & do whatever I want to do is crucial to staying sane & happy.

Journaling IS self-therapy.

When I let That Bitch take over my thoughts, that’s when depression is the worst. That’s when I don’t want to get out of bed & I don’t want to do the things that bring me joy or spend time with the people I love.

When I let That Bitch take over, I forget that *I* am the one living my life. And this life is SHORT & precious. The doubt That Bitch invites to come alongside me is NOT welcomed. And, I know I won’t rid myself of doubt completely, but taking little calculated risks (like this blog) & expressing myself is a KEY part of my happiness.

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Routine is important but so is surprise & risk & stepping into the unknown.

I am reading a book called “The Middle Finger Project” right now & the author says that, when your skills are creative in nature (like writing, for me), you are especially prone to “imposter syndrome.” (That’s when you feel like what you’re doing is being an imposter, pretending to be more important or experienced or good at whatever it is you’re doing than you really are.)

But, “imposter syndrome” is a result of not wanting to be seen. It’s a direct product of poor self-esteem & viewing yourself as “less than,” in general. You want to hide out & NOT take up any space in the world. You don’t feel worthy of taking up precious space, so you do your damnedest NOT to.

But, when your gifts are creative in nature, in order to be of quality, you HAVE to be willing to be seen. Just by putting yourself out into the world to be able to be seen puts you MILES ahead of those who don’t even dare to try. And, yes, there’s imposter syndrome. But, when you fight it, your creativity gets a boost.

Your CREATION is a reflection of YOU.

And, if you do not view YOU as worthy of being seen, your creation will take on those qualities too.

You HAVE to start with YOU.

You HAVE to quiet That Bitch.

You HAVE to shut her up at least long enough to CREATE & put it out there. Otherwise, she wins.

So, that’s why, every now & then, I open up my laptop, start a new WordPress post, & just start typing…. Then, when I am done, maybe I do a quick spell-check, but then, despite feeling like a piece of unworthy, nasty shit, I hit “Publish” anyway. Like today…

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Reta Jayne

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I am Reta Jayne. I help women learn to love themselves again (or more!) through no-bull discussions about mental health, self-care, & more. Click the email icon to subscribe to & communicate with me via email.

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The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
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